How thorough is your research? When Ancestry gives you an index record with at least six solid pieces of information –full name (including middle name), birth date and place, death date and parents’ names (first name, middle initial and last name) – how often do you think, “That’s good enough”? Especially when the alternative is to spend $21 on… what? I mean… there’s all the information I really need, right?
I had this experience recently with a record that came up for a guy I’m researching. Ancestry pointed me to an entry in the “U.S. Social Security Application and Claims Index, 1936-2007.” I already knew everything the (no-image) record was telling me. And one more detail, seemed to be telling me a piece of information I really wanted would NOT be on the record.
One of the fields on the record Ancestry shows is “Relationship of Signature,” and the Index record says “Not signed, SSA prepared.” Well, shoot… so I’m not going to get the signature I need to compare with other documents, I already know all the other stuff, so really, WHY DO I NEED TO SPEND $21?!!!!
The very specific answer for me, is because I am seriously considering becoming a Certified Genealogist® and my application needs to document reasonably exhaustive research. An index record ain’t gonna cut it. So I bit the bullet and ordered the record.
In my mind, I ordered the record ONLY so the citations in my certification portfolio would be up to snuff and demonstrate the scope of my research. Because without that signature for comparison, the record wasn’t going to be helpful.
It finally arrived Saturday and there was much more than that index led me to believe was there:
When you think that index is “good enough”, think again. Order that record. You’ll be glad you did.
I wish I could tell more stories about this guy. I apologize for my dearth of blog posts recently. Much of my research and writing time lately has involved material for my certification portfolio and I need to keep kinda mum about my work until I submit the portfolio. I promise to try to find lessons like this one that I can write about and share them with you.
For more about becoming a Certified Genealogist® see https://bcgcertification.org/
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.